Academic journal article Wagadu: a Journal of Transnational Women's and Gender Studies

Breaking the Silence, Building a Bridge

Academic journal article Wagadu: a Journal of Transnational Women's and Gender Studies

Breaking the Silence, Building a Bridge

Article excerpt

I'm a sex worker who lives and works in the U.S, and I love what I do. I love the freedoms and benefits my job provides, but I hate that human trafficking is such an insidious cancer inside my industry. I am not the only one from within my vocation that holds contempt for predators who exploit sex workers, but the disgust we often share with those outside of our profession is not one that can often be talked about freely. Our subculture is estranged on some level from mainstream society due to judgment, fear of arrest, and other repercussions that make it difficult to share our thoughts, tell our own stories, or report crimes and suspected abuses when then happen. We are left to fend for ourselves and help our colleagues when we can, but not as effectively as if we were able to engage on equal terms with a system that is supposed to universally protect all citizens.

As I became more interested in pursuing sex workers rights activism, and as my own county was labeled by the FBI as being in the top five recruitment area for the sex trafficking of minors under 18 years of age, I felt it was important to put aside my own fears of becoming harassed or arrested by law enforcement and break my silence by becoming involved in a local task force focused on human trafficking in our area. Could I have done this without divulging my professional identity as a sex worker? Of course, but I strongly believe my participation in antitrafficking efforts would be an asset precisely because I have specific ties and insights into sex worker's lives that abolitionists and other anti-trafficking activists often lack. My personal and professional experiences as a sex worker can offer important recommendations regarding how to best address trafficking while simultaneously respecting the human rights of sex workers who are not experiencing coercion or force. …

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